No Boasting

Judges 7:1-8

1Early in the morning, Jerub-Baal (that is, Gideon) and all his men camped at the spring of Harod. The camp of Midian was north of them in the valley near the hill of Moreh. The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, ‘My own strength has saved me.’ Now announce to the army, ‘Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.’” So 22,000 men left, while 10,000 remained.

But the Lord said to Gideon, “There are still too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will thin them out for you there. If I say, ‘This one shall go with you,’ he shall go; but if I say, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ he shall not go.”

So Gideon took the men down to the water. There the Lord told him, “Separate those who lap the water with their tongues as a dog laps from those who kneel down to drink.” Three hundred of them drank from cupped hands, lapping like dogs. All the rest got down on their knees to drink. The Lord said to Gideon, “With the 300 men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the others go home.” So Gideon sent the rest of the Israelites home but kept the 300, who took over the provisions and trumpets of the others.

You know Me!

An engineer brought a friend and visited his building project. The visitor observed a fine masonry job. The engineer called the attention of one mason, and shouted praise for a fine masonry job in front of the visitor, “Hey Golo! You did a great fine job out there!” Golo the mason shouted, “You know me, sir. I don’t do inferior things!”

The mason’s response was an expression that implies desire for salary raise.

Experts advised: “When aspiring for promotion, you have to impress the boss.” Indeed, the boss would observe all employees but with limitation. Employees have to grab the attention of the boss if they want to be noticed.

Do believers need to grab the attention of employers intentionally for promotion? Can you believe that the Lord bless employers so that they may notice your efforts? The Lord declares in Jeremiah 17:10, 10I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.

Do you believe that the Lord would work in the heart of employers to notice dedicated efforts worthy of salary increase? The Bible teaches that Christians should work as if working for the Lord. Can we conclude that God Himself would inspire employers to observe and notice employees who deserve promotion or salary increase?

Colossians 3:23 says, 23Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.

Trying to impress employers or boasting on one’s effort is not lifestyle that believers should bother about. The Lord knew the ability or capability of His creations. He rewards those who deserve rewards. He is not impressed with anybody’s effort. The only boasting that God accepts is to boast of who He is and His work in our life.

The Lord says in Jeremiah 9:24, 24Let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord.

Boasting reflects the desire to be noticed. The intentional desire to be noticed discloses some sentiment to be commended. Those who joined Gideon, did they long for commendation? Some of them may have genuine desire to help but most of the 32,000 men joined for recognition, no to be left out. Nonetheless, they were told to go home.

1. 32,000

1Early in the morning, Jerub-Baal (that is, Gideon) and all his men camped at the spring of Harod. The camp of Midian was north of them in the valley near the hill of Moreh. The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, ‘My own strength has saved me.’  Now announce to the army, ‘Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.’” So 22,000 men left, while 10,000 remained.

The Lord wanted Gideon to know that it’s not by big numbers of warriors that he will defeat their enemies. Gideon came know that it’s by God’s power that they were saved. Initially, God let 32,000 men came and joined Gideon, why? Why did God not inform Gideon earlier that He only need to 300 men to accomplish His purposes?

Earlier the Lord instructed that Gideon will save Israel not with the number of people who would join him but with the strength he had. It says in Judges 6:14, 14 “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” 15 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” 16 The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.”

God assured His presence but Gideon was not ready to accept it. Gideon was very concerned that he his family or his clan may not listen to him. So, God allowed 32,000 Israelites to join, why? It was a practical proof that God can easily mobilize the Israelites to follow Gideon. It was God’s way to confirm that He was with Gideon all the way.

Nonetheless, God never planned to save Israel by the number of men who joined. The Lord perceived that if they defeated their enemies with 32,000 men, they will boast about their number and ability. So, when the Lord ordered those who were scared to go home, it implied longing for recognition. Those who were scared, they felt insignificant.

ADHD

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affects children and teens and can continue into adulthood. ADHD is the most commonly diagnosed mental disorder of children. Children with ADHD may be hyperactive and unable control their impulses. Or, they may have trouble paying attention.

Symptoms of ADHD can be: easily distracted, don’t follow directions or finish tasks, don’t appear to be listening, don’t pay attention and makes careless mistakes, forget about daily activities,  have problems organizing daily tasks, don’t like to do things that require sitting still, often lose things, and tends to daydream.

During battle, someone with ADHD has delicate situation. Additionally, soldiers who intentionally attract attention might put the whole platoon in danger.

People who crave for popularity would do unusual things just to attract attention. Craving for attention may have fears to be left out. They desire to be recognized.

Those 22,000 men who went home not necessarily have ADHD or craving for attention but the Lord knew exactly those He wanted to be part of His project. The Lord doesn’t want anybody to take credit for what He does. He declared it in Isaiah 42:8.

8I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another.

God’s glory is the most desirable life. His glory is a simple description of life to be experienced in heaven. We will taste such glorious life when Christ returns to give us glorified body. While living in our mortal body we can only sense a minimal portion of His glory when His Spirit prevails in our life. We’ve got inexplicable joy and peace.

Among the 32,000 men, only 300 were allowed to share in the glory of victory.

2. 300

But the Lord said to Gideon, “There are still too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will thin them out for you there. If I say, ‘This one shall go with you,’ he shall go; but if I say, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ he shall not go.” So Gideon took the men down to the water. There the Lord told him, “Separate those who lap the water with their tongues as a dog laps from those who kneel down to drink.” Three hundred of them drank from cupped hands, lapping like dogs. All the rest got down on their knees to drink. The Lord said to Gideon, “With the 300 men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the others go home.” So Gideon sent the rest of the Israelites home but kept the 300, who took over the provisions and trumpets of the others.

There were speculations that God chose 300 because they were ready for battle. When the 300 drank water from their hands, it implies alertness while those who kneel down to drink signified that they did not care about their surroundings or others.

Does it make sense? But wait! What if the 9,700 drink from their hands, are they considered alert? What if the 300 kneel down to drink, are they considered careless of their surroundings? Will God send home the 300 who did not care about surroundings? Will God choose the 9,700 men to go to battle because they are alert?

See! To separate 300 men was the main purpose why God order them to drink. The 300 may drink from their hands or otherwise but still God would choose the 300 men, why? God said, “There were still too many men.” So, it’s was not about drinking style but choosing 300 men or who’s alert or careless.

Alertness is plus factor in battle. But, to interpret that God chose the 300 because of their alertness may imply that God has depended upon the alertness or ability of 300 men to win the battle instead of His power. If we accept that God has already selected 300, no matter how they drank water, their style of drinking, the way they drink was just a sign not for God but for Gideon to know and choose who would join him.

It says in 1 Corinthians 1:27, 27But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.

Is it foolishness to have only few if you can have more? It’s hard to know when enough is enough. Some of those who knelt down to drink may have even considered the 300 foolish of not drinking as much as they can. Normally, majority attracts more.

As Gideon separated them and many knelt down to drink, more men followed those who knelt to drink. They might think they will be chosen but God did not want them to boast, why? They’ve got nothing to boast about. Actually, if they’ve got ability to defeat their enemies, they should not have been impoverished and harassed.

It says in 1 Corinthians 1:31, 31 Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.

And in Galatians 6:14, 14 May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Boasting in the Lord or boasting in the cross of Christ means that testifying with boldness about what Christ has done in our life. This boldness is not a sinful pride but the empowerment of Christ’s Spirit. We are empowered when we have the fruit of the Spirit.

<‘))):< ltsii/2018 >:(((‘>

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